The 6 [Toronto] is a hotbed of hip-hop talent; it’s nothing new, and it’s far from a secret. Only recently, though, the world has begun to take note fully. Drake unquestionably opened the door, but artists like Weeknd and Tory Lanes have certainly solidified city’s place in the game. We’re certainly fans of discovering and promoting new talent here at AAHH, and this week we want to share a young cat by the name of Casey Burns. He’s a Toronto native that’s not only working hard on his music hustle but even producing his videos — a few of which are garnering him some interesting feedback and opportunities.
“I just quit my job to do it full-time,” says Casey, “I just want to do what I love for a living.” His drive is infectious. Check out the Q&A below, and get familiar with the young T.Dot upstart.
Tell me about your music — describe your sound.
Honestly, I just make what I’m feeling. I know that’s a vague and typical artsy answer. I’ve been told I’ve got a distinct sound. I guess I’d say it’s eclectic- I don’t know if I would define it by a single genre. Kind of a melting pot of genres with a base of hip-hop. A definite old-school blues and jazz feel. A lot of singing and rapping.
How did you get involved in music?
I think the first instrument I learned was a penny whistle. It looks and sounds like a tiny metal recorder. Then I moved to violin, then guitar, then piano and finally voice lessons. I first learned to sing broadway. I started writing music at a real young age. I would find myself naturally writing songs at random times, and that’s how it started. I was in this cover band from ages 11 to 14, and we would play all of these well known classic rock covers. We would do street fairs and charity gigs, and whatnot and all of the senior citizens would eat it up. That got too old to be cute, and we started writing a few originals. When that stopped, I kept writing a whole bunch of solo songs. I finally showed a few tracks to my friends, and their reactions inspired me to show more people what I do.
Who/what were some of your influences?
I used to be obsessed with reading rockstar biographies as a kid, and I was inspired by those success stories. I feel like I was too young to realize the less glamorous side of that life those books portrayed but it planted an idea in my mind of being this big rockstar when I’m grown up. That’s something that I still
haven’t been able to shake. Musically, Led Zeppelin, Earl Sweatshirt, Kendrick, Stevie Wonder. Those are a few of my favorites. I don’t know, I can’t really pinpoint what inspires me musically. OFWGKTA really inspired me as a movement. Just their DIY aesthetic and everything that came with it. Tyler The Creator’s videos to this day blow my mind and are something I strive to achieve on an artistic level.
What have you released?
I have two musical projects. The first was a full-length album I made about two years ago when I was still in Highschool. The second one is called the Let it Linger EP, which I released about eight months ago. I’ve got a total of nine music videos, eight of which I edited and directed myself. The one I just released, “Rattle & Hum,” I worked on with a super dope production house in Montreal called La Maison Baldman. They killed it as you can see by the visuals. I’ve got a couple of singles out there too.
What are you currently working on?
Working on this album. I just quit my job to do it full-time, I want it to be something special, and it’s distracting me mentally so much that I sell drugs now to get studio time and pay rent but at least I’ll have something cool to rap about. Totally joking. But seriously, this full- length project is going to be insane. A lot of live instrumentation. A really interesting conceptual aspect too. I’m doing the whole thing with my boy Aaron Cheung who’s an amazing producer and instrumentalist. Wait on it fam, big tings.
What have been some of your biggest achievements thus far?
Hmm, that’s an interesting one. I feel like I’m still at a point where I haven’t done shit, or have much to show for the hours I’ve put in so whenever something cool happens I have to take a step back to appreciate it. Like, my default inner dialogue for anything mildly big that happens is “Man that’s not a big deal, just wait a few years.” But when they showed my music video on the news, that was crazy. A producer from a certain record label hit me up and fucks with what I do. That was cool too; we got drunk, and he told me famous people stories, pretty surreal. Honestly, and not to sound corny, but my biggest achievement is that people are starting to notice, and get effected by what I do. Like, random strangers. I keep getting messages online from people who are effected in a positive way by my music. That’s the most insane thing. Even one of those messages makes it all worth it because that’s the point.
What are your goals in the industry?
I just want to do what I love for a living. Playing festivals, touring, and having a bigger budget for my videos would be nice. I would love to make enough money to help the world a little bit. I have a disgust for famous or rich people who don’t stand for anything. I don’t fuck with a lot of the people at the top of the industry, especially those who control the corporate side of it. I don’t think I’m ever going to be someone with big savings or does brand endorsements or any of that. As big as things get I could see myself having a mid-life celebrity crisis and like, giving it all to Africa.
What’s next for you, professionally?
First full length-album. I’m planning to go all out, get a publicist and all that and have some nice music videos done up to release alongside it. Aaron and I have something real special on the way. Other than that, there’s a lot of features and a long way to go with promoting the material I’ve already released. I’m still figuring a lot of shit out.